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Emergency Road Service Coverage

Emergency Road Service Coverage

When your car breaks down on the road, it can be scary and stressful, not to mention dangerous. Problems with your vehicle can occur at any time and include:

  • Engine failure.
  • Dead batteries.
  • Blown-out tires.
  • Empty gas tank.
  • Wheels stuck in deep snow or mud. Keys locked inside the vehicle.

During these times, having emergency road service (ERS) coverage can prove extremely valuable.

Emergency road service coverage, also known as “towing and labor coverage,” can help you with costs associated with:

  • Towing.
  • Tire changes.
  • Battery service.
  • Fuel delivery.
  • Locksmith service.

Purchasing Emergency Road Service

Most major car insurance companies offer emergency road service coverage, or their version of that coverage. Buying ERS can be as simple as checking a box when it is offered to you.

When considering roadside service coverage, you should evaluate:

  • Services provided by your car insurance company.
  • The cost of the emergency roadside service coverage.
  • The right limits for you.

NOTE: Some states require you to have comprehensive and collision coverages as part of your policy before being eligible to purchase emergency road service coverage.

Coverage Limits

Because emergency road service coverage is meant for emergency situations and not for major mechanical issues, limits are generally low. For example, your insurance company might impose a $100 cap per incident.

However, emergency roadside service typically doesn’t have large costs associated, so you likely won’t end up paying much (if anything) out of pocket.

Keep in mind that limits vary from company to company, so it’s important to consult with your car insurance agent or representative to understand the exact parameters of their ERS coverage.

Some programs, for example, will only offer a certain number of covered tows per policy period.

Since limits are low, emergency road service coverage tends to be one of the more affordable car insurance coverages available.

Handling Roadside Emergencies

You hear the sputter of your engine as the gas tank goes way beyond empty. What now?

First thing’s first - don’t panic. Stay calm and try to get as far away from moving traffic as possible.

Auto insurance companies typically provide a roadside service phone number when you purchase towing and labor coverage. Call the number and let the representative know:

  • The emergency with your car.
  • Your best estimation of where you are located.

The dispatcher will arrange roadside assistance for you.

Some car insurance companies allow you to contact towing services directly. You will need to pay for the service out of pocket, but if you provide a receipt to your insurance company, they can reimburse you. Make sure to ask your car insurance agent or representative if you have this option.

Motor Clubs

There are several motor clubs that offer roadside assistance as part of their membership perks.

Membership fees to motor clubs are generally much higher than the cost of purchasing emergency road service coverage through your car insurance company. However, these clubs usually offer several additional perks such as:

  • Travel assistance.
  • Travel guides.
  • Discounts to:
    • Hotels.
    • Restaurants.
    • Entertainment.

Some car insurance companies will even lower your premium if you are a member of an automobile club.

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